Learning Yoga


What is yoga?

Yoga is an ancient, practical branch of Indian philosophy, systematised approximately 250BCE by the sage Patanjali, that teaches the means by which the human spirit can be united with the universal spirit. The word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning to yoke, join, concentrate on, use and apply.

Patanjali describes eight interrelated aspects of yoga:

  1. Yama – the universal moral commandments
  2. Niyama – self-purification
  3. Asana – posture
  4. Pranayama – breath control
  5. Pratyahara – emancipation of the mind from the domination of the senses and exterior objects
  6. Dharana – concentration
  7. Dhyana – meditation
  8. Samadhi – when the individual becomes one with the universal spirit.

Yama and niyama keep man in harmony with the rest of mankind, asanas keep the body strong and healthy and in harmony with nature, pranayama and pratyahara help to control the mind and the last three stages take the aspirant inwards towards the soul.

Yoga classes at the Studio

Classes at the Studio focus mainly on asana, or posture. There are numerous asanas developed over the ages to exercise every nerve, gland and muscle in the body. Their practice develops balance, agility, endurance and vitality. They help keep the body healthy, reduce tiredness and soothe the nerves, but they also help to train and discipline the mind, developing steadiness and discernment.

The yogi… seeks a body strong as a thunderbolt, healthy and free from suffering so as to dedicate it to the service of the Lord for which it is intended. B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga.

Students are given detailed instruction on how to do poses and support that is tailored to their individual needs. ‘Props’ such as blocks and belts are sometimes used to teach certain actions or help students achieve poses or stay in them for longer.

What to wear to class

Asanas are practiced in bare feet and simple clothing that allows for ease of movement. A round-necked, short sleeved t-shirt worn with leggings or shorts is ideal. There is a small changing room at the Studio with pegs for hanging coats and outer clothing.

Valuables

Students can take handbags and other valuables in to the teaching area, but the Studio can’t take responsibility for any loss or theft. If possible, please avoid bringing precious items with you to class.

Precautions

  • Asanas are best done on an empty stomach, preferably at least one hour after a light meal and four hours after a heavy meal.
  • Women should not practice inversted poses (head stand or shoulder stand) during their menstrual period.
  • Pregnant women and students with health conditions should consult their GP before starting classes.